How a $22 overdraft fee made me $60,000

Fuck. I was out of money. 

fake flossin
Fake flossin. I don’t even drink.

I was 20 years old in Hong Kong and living the Rick Ross life… BMF (blowin money fast). My first time by myself in Hong Kong meant 3 things:

1. 50% sushi dinners every night after 9 PM
2. Clubbing/nightlife in LKF almost everyday
3. Paying an old lady to do your laundry

I had extreme FOMO (fear of missing out). I kept on hearing… “You’ll never get an opportunity to travel again…” or “Make the most of your trip”. I traveled 24 hours and halfway across the world for this experience. But still… $3 bucks for coffee… Oh $10 for lunch… $15 for dinner. Shit adds up quick… REAL QUICK.

Real quick.

If you’ve gone through financial stress before, we all know that guilty feeling.

I would wake up dreading the balance left in my bank account. When statements got sent, I wouldn’t open them. The overdraft fees made me feel like I wasn’t responsible. I was out of control.

…and I hated feeling this way.

Your account is ready
Those FIVE dreaded words.

Minutes would pass by and I was hovering over my email bank statements and staring blankly into the screen. The words “oh man this is going to suck” kept replaying in my head. The truth paralyzed me and I felt guilty doing nothing about it… But whether I opened my statement or not, the numbers didn’t lie… I was in financial chaos.

And then this happened… My fourth overdraft feeFUCK!

Overdraft fee
Actual proof of me fucking up.

I was sick of this shit. I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. If I didn’t change and kept fucking up… where would I be in 10 years? 20 years? What would happen when I hit the “real world“?… or even when my parents or kids started depending on me financially?

If I didn’t start changing now… then I would never change… The change had to happen now.

I scoured through magazines, books, and blogs. There was so much shit to sift through. I read everything from budgeting to OMG EXTREME COUPONING!… But there was only so much I was willing to cut back on… I still wanted enjoy life. What I needed to do was to earn more.

Extreme couponing. TRUUUUU

Most people were raving about index funds, so I tried it. Every single month, I automatically threw in $50 every month no matter what. When I could throw more down, I did. After a few years of investing, I went from having $0 to this…

My actual statement

The purpose of this story is NOT to be like… “OMG! U NEED TO INVEST IN INDEX FUNDS“. What really made me $60,000 was my psychology. Most of my friends said “I want to invest, but I need to figure it out first” when I was busy actually doing it. I was done settling, feeling guilty, and trying to figure out later.  I didn’t want to go back to that life of guilt.

In my mind if I didn’t do something, I was already losing. I was going to get off my ass and figure it out now. At the end of the day, we can either continue fucking up for years OR we can make a change today. 

It’s your choice.

For me later meant hurting these people…

What is one thing that you want to stop feeling guilty about?

Leave your answers below.


PS… I bought I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi… the BEST $10 I’ve ever spent in my life. This is the best book on personal finance for millennials that I have read. It is a must read for everyone.


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14 thoughts on “How a $22 overdraft fee made me $60,000

  • June 23, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    You inspired me to invest I have no idea what I’m doing, and I hope I don’t lose all my money but I’m gonna try

    • June 26, 2015 at 4:15 am

      HAHA. Dom I like your attitude. It’s like “FUCK IT. YOLO SWAG”

      The purpose those isn’t to just throw your money in and not look back on it. The purpose to is to take action, not wait for later, and take a calculated risk.

      Try reading the book before you go balls out man… but I LOVE your passion man.

  • June 25, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Cool article! Very Inspirational. I liked that you showed us proof that you did go through these experiences. You even showed us snapshots of your bank balances when you didn’t have to. I’m gonna take a look at that book now.

    • June 26, 2015 at 4:13 am

      Thanks Em! Yeah I wanted to provide screenshots to show people I wasn’t bullshitting and to make it more real for people. I’ve been there in the shit-hole so I felt like my experience could help others.

  • June 25, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Kevin, I want to do what you did as well. But what sort of fund would allow for a low initial investment? I don’t have a lot of money to start with. Which one did you use that meant you could start with only 50 dollars?

    cheers bro!

    • June 26, 2015 at 4:11 am

      So if I were in your shoes, I would do either of these…

      1. I would open up an account with Fidelity (there’s no minimum). When you hit $3000, you can always switch brokerage companies like Vanguard ($3000 minimum). I like Vanguard because I get better returns and the funds are wicked cheap. You can do a Roth IRA (preferred) or taxable account. I would do either a index fund or Target Retirement Fund (if you don’t like micro-managing.

      2. Open up either an Ally account or Capital One Banking and just have it automatically withdraw until you hit $3000 minimum for Vanguard.

      Most likely I would go with option 1… but either way you should probably read the book. Ramit does a good job talking about all that stuff.

      • August 17, 2015 at 1:26 am

        No worries man. Thanks heaps!

  • June 27, 2015 at 5:40 am

    Wait a minute. So you invested $50 a month starting at age 20? How old are you now? 27? 28? So lets say 8 years. Lets do the math: $50 x 12 x 8 = $4,800

    Are you honestly telling us you turned $4,800 into $68,000? That is 14x your investment?! I know the stock market has gone up but no way it has gone up 14x especially if you are just indexing.

    • June 27, 2015 at 6:10 am

      Good catch. If you read the post closely though I started with $50 a month… But I started investing more and more especially out of college and pharmacy school. So no I’m not saying that I turned $4500 into $68k. I’ve probably invested at least 30-40k.

      What I’m saying in this post was that the change in psychology made me my money. If I didn’t have that moment of clarity I wouldn’t have invested ANY money.

      Hope that clears things up.

      • June 27, 2015 at 8:02 am

        Thank you for the clarification! That makes sense. Great job!

  • July 8, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Hey Kevin, I’m just about to get started as a freshman in college and I was wondering what credit card I should use. I was looking at citibank’s thank you preferred card to see the benefits, but I’m not so sure yet. Are there benefits of getting just a normal credit card (higher credit limit than student/perks).

  • July 13, 2015 at 3:31 am

    I dont know what and index investment is but im googling that shit and tomorrow im gonna invest in somthing,


  • July 14, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Hey Kevin,
    I’m currently in your situation where I have a really low balance in my bank account. When I read this article It really brightened up my perspective and made me sit and think about what I’d always spend my money on. It turns out that I’ve been spending my money mainly on luxuries rather than being smart about it and investing it. I currently am starting to do get into Forex trading and I wanted to ask you what other forms of investing are out there?

  • December 2, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Guilty about spending money. Guilty knowing that my parents sacrifice and keep sacrificing to provide the best education. The whole immigrant thing, we came to this country for education and you better focus on school. I rarely get high marks. So much guilt because of this.


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